Updated: Sep 1, 2021
Brent Pool, Philippines. Coaches Rob, Cali, Brett, Melvin.
In 1992 I was employed by Triathlon Australia (TA) on a part-time basis as National Coaching Director (NCD). A position that I could complete from my residence in Perth, WA as TA had no National Office at the time. In 1994 the position was incorporated with the new position of High Performance Manager responsible for the management of our elite athlete program as well as still undertaking the duties of NCD. This meant moving to Canberra into TA’s National Office under the direction of the newly appointed CEO, Tim Wilson. I soon found myself not only doing my two jobs but also assisting Tim who did not come from a Triathlon background and was finding his way.
In 1995 I managed the elite team of juniors and seniors to the World Championships in Cancun, Mexico. Assisting me in that task was Frank Conceicao, a very experienced bike mechanic. There was an ITU Congress held at the same time and an ITU Solidarity Camp.
The ITU Solidarity Camp was a means of helping the not so triathlon strong nations to improve so that more countries would help the push into the Olympics. Also, at the Congress a motion was put to make all Olympic Distance races draft legal. The ITU President, Les McDonald convinced most nations that without the subjective call of a drafting penalty, the sport had a better chance of making the Olympics in the year 2000. Only 2 countries voted against that resolution. USA and Australia. A decision that effectively turned triathlon into a swim/run!
Rob Pickard, Steve Trew and Mark LeFebre in Chennai 1996.
In 1996, Les McDonald approached me to head up an Asian Olympic Solidarity camp to be held in Chennai, India. Other coaches were Mr Steve Trew from Britain and Mark LeFebre from Canada.
There were a host of Asian countries attending, including Philippines, Malaysia, China, Hong Kong, Thailand as well as India.
In 1996, Frank Conceicao who owns a Bike Shop in Sydney, was contacted by Brazilian coach Cali Amaral to find a coach who could run a coaching course in Brazil. Frank is fluent in Portuguese and of course has great knowledge surrounding bikes. He contacted myself and we headed over to Sao Paulo, Brazil for 10 days to meet Cali and present the coaching course at which Frank translated my English to the class of about 20 coaches. Carli asked my opinion on the potential of one of his athletes at the time, Carla Moreno. I thought she had plenty of ability(she went on to represent Brazil in 2 Olympics 2000 and 2004) but suggested he should seek out the advice of Brett Sutton.
Brett Sutton was appointed TA National Coach around this time which was more of a formality as he was already coaching the majority of Australia’s best triathletes.
In 1998 I was contacted by Mr Tom Carrasco of the Triathlon Philippines Association (TRAP) and requested to run a coaching course in Pagsanjan, Manilla, Philippines. This was attended by a number of coaches and also a number of senior athletes.
In this next period of time both Brett and I departed TA. Cali got in touch with Brett and this begun a period of Brett’s involvement with Cali and the Brazilian Triathlon and development of underprivileged children into the sport in Brazil. Brett also moved his training camps to France and Switzerland.
In 1999 I was contacted by the Indian Triathlon Federation to assist in finding a full-time coach for their program. I was already contracted to work in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the time and I couldn’t take on the position myself. Brett Mace from NSW took up the task and stayed for over 3 years doing a remarkable job. In 2002, Brett brought a group of 6 Indian nationals to Shoalhaven Heads for a couple of months and I assisted him from time to time in coaching them.
2002 I ran a Coaches Clinic in Chennai.
In 2003 I headed up an Asian Junior Camp in Nahkon, Thailand with a host of Asian nations including the Philippines who were coached by Melvin Fausto. Melvin had previously worked with underprivileged children in the Philippines and was closely aligned with a newly elected Senator Pia Cayotano who was just beginning triathlons herself. Through Melvin, she contacted me to return to the Philippines in 2004 to run a Duathlon Camp for seniors and juniors at Clark. I also instructed her as well.
Rob Pickard coaching at Clarke, Philippines 2004
2004 I headed up a camp in Subic Bay, Philippines run by the Asian Triathlon Committee for Asian coaches.
Also in 2004 I ran the first Level 1 Coaching course in Thailand hosted by the then President of Triathlon Thailand, Mr Vijitr Sittinawin.
In 2005 Pia and Melvin and a team of 3 athletes returned to Australia and competed at the Newcastle World Duathlon Championships after a short stay at Shoalhaven Heads and my home.
2006 I ran a Triathlon Coaching seminar for coaches in Chennai.
It was around this time that Brett, who was now working with Team TBB contacted me to see if we could work together to improve the level of ability of the Asian region. I contacted a few nations that I had dealings with and put a proposal to them but only the Philippines responded and both Brett and I hosted a training camp in Bor Saen Villa, near Phuket in Thailand.